Tandoori Paneer Masala

I love having paneer in the fridge. It’s a goodun’ to just always have in. Home from work, don’t know what to make? Get on that paneer. Paneer is an Indian cheese that’s made from cows milk and is rather excellent at absorbing flavours. The soaking attribute comes fastened with the fact that it is pressed heavily with something as trivial as a common household item that one can get online from https://www.thecheesemaker.com/Cheese-making-Presses/. It has a wonderful almost meaty texture which makes it perfect for cooking it in curries (obvs), as a stuffing (paneer parathas anyone?) or even as a salad topping (toast paneer cubes in a dry pan until golden & crisp & pop on top of your next salad – you’re welcome). In addition, it’s packed full of protein and surprisingly quick to make. But enough of the paneer ad campaign, let’s get onto the good stuff. 

Today’s recipe is one that transforms this humble cheese into a luxurious, stand out dish. Mopped up with crispy, butter laden naans (I mean if you’re going to do it, do it right), it will not disappoint. This is also a fabulous one to whip out at a dinner party or pot luck. Enjoy. 

For Paneer Marination:
225g paneer, cut into cubes
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1cm squares
1 onion, cut into 1 cm squares
4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2” ginger, grated
½ tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp lemon/lime juice
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp gram flour/chickpea flour (optional)
2 tsp sunflower/vegetable oil
For Masala:
4 tbsp oil
2” cinnamon stick
2 black cardamoms (optional), crushed open in a pestle & mortar
3 green cardamoms, crushed open in a pestle & mortar
5 cloves
4 tbsp tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp double concentrate tomato purée
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp salt, or according to taste
3/4 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
4 tbsp cream cheese
Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

How to:
1) Line a baking tray and pre-heat grill at highest temperature setting. Place all “paneer marination” ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
2) Tip the marinated paneer into the baking tray and spread all over. Cook in grill for 5 minutes until slightly charred. Remove from heat and turn off grill.
3) Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves and cook for 10 seconds.
4) Now add the tomato passata, purée, ketchup and green chillies and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining spices and cook for 1 minute. Now add the cream cheese a little at a time, mixing continuously until it is completely blended in.
5) Now add the grilled paneer as well as the fresh coriander.
6) Add one cup of water and bring to boil. Place lid on the pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Check the salt and chilli adjust to your taste. Enjoy with naan or chapatis.

Tandoori Paneer Pizza

Hello hello I know it’s been a while! What with graduating from college and re-locating overseas my time had been consumed with non-blogging activities. But do not fear I am back! And today I am equipped with the yummiest pizza recipe. Made with a light base, zesty tomato sauce, tasty veggys, topped off with tandoori paneer (indian cheese), this pizza is sure to go down well. Check it out and let me know what you think:

Serves 4

What we need:

Base: I cheated on this one and bought the pizza flour mix, i recommend it as it works great!
Pizza Sauce:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot grated
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 can plum tomatoes including juice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed chili flakes
handful fresh basil, finely chopped
1 cup of cm cubed paneer (mine was store bought but you can easily make home made paneer. here’s a great recipe for it: http://cookeasy.wordpress.com/2006/11/05/make-paneer-at-home/
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
3 tbsp yogurt
2 tsp salt
2 tsp tandoori masala (available from local indian grocery store)
pinch of citric acid (or dash of lemon juice)
handful of chopped cilantro (coridander)
Other toppings:
1 green/red bell pepper diced
1/2 onion diced
4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated mozzarella

How we do:

  • Preheat oven to 220 c/425 f
  • In a bowl add the paneer, and all the ingredients listed above under the heading of paneer. Mix well and refrigerate until time to top the pizza
  • To make the sauce, in a pan add the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Once onions are golden brown, add tomato paste and plum tomatos. Now add the herbs. Place on low heat and simmer for a minimum of 30 mins until it becomes of a thick consistency.
  • Then place in a blender and blitz so a smooth thick sauce forms.
  • For the base, in a bowl add the contents of the pizza flour mix. Add approx 8 fl oz of hot water and mix until binded. Then knead until forms smooth dough
  • Place dough in a warm place to let it rise
  • Now time to put everything together….
  • Line a baking tray or pizza tray with grease proof baking paper
  • Using a rolling pin or your hands carefully and lightly spread the dough until it evenly covers the tray
  • Then spread the pizza sauce all over the base evenly
  • Place mushrooms, peppers and onions over the pizza. Then sprinkle on the paneer cubes and finally finish with the mozzarella cheese
  • Place in oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.
  • Serve with salad and grilled potatoes.
  • BALLE BALLE! Enjoy!